Development of the newborn, control of the head

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Immediately after birth, the newborn has little control over his head because his motor skills and neck muscles are quite weak. He will develop this crucial skill, which is the basis for all subsequent movements - such as sitting and walking - little by little during the first year of life.

The baby will likely be able to lift his head when he is about one month old and hold it up when he is in a sitting position, around 4 months old. Neck muscles and head control should be strong and steady by 6 months instead.

The baby will rely on you to support his head and neck for at least the first month or so. This is probably how nature makes sure you have time to make eye contact and close your union.

Let's find out how the control of the head by the newborn changes in relation to the various months of age.

In this article


  • 1 2 from a month
  • 3 4 from a month 
  • 5 6 from a month 
  • The role of parents
  • When to worry 
Read also: Development of the newborn, when he learns to grasp objects

1 2 from a month

By the end of the first month, the child should be able to briefly raise his head and turn it from side to side when lying on his stomach. Between 6 and 8 weeks, if he is particularly strong and coordinated, he will raise his head while lying on his back.

When you carry it on your shoulder, it will have enough control to keep its head up, but not for long. He'll also be strong enough to hold his head up while sitting in a car seat or front pack.

For the jogging stroller remember to wait until the little one can keep his head in a stable position without any support. If you are carrying the baby in a sling, make sure his face is visible as he still cannot move his head to breathe easily.

3 4 from a month

You will notice a marked improvement in head control. The child will be able to lift it 45 degrees while he is lying on his stomach and will be able to keep it constantly erect.

If you want to play a fun game that helps him develop his neck muscles as well, put the baby on his back and slowly pull him up with your hands into a sitting position. Let him relax and then repeat.

At this age, he should be able to keep his head in line with the rest of his body. 

Read also: The third month of the newborn

5 6 from a month

Within 6 months, the baby will be able to keep the head still and erect and will bend it forward when placed in a sitting position. It may be ready for a jogging stroller at this point.

The role of parents

You don't have to do much to encourage the development of baby head control. you just have to be careful until it is completed. For the first few months, in particular, you must accompany the baby's neck and head when lifting or carrying him.

Although the baby should always sleep on his back, put it on your stomach often while it is awake: lifting your head and chest to look at you or its toys will strengthen your neck muscles.

From 3 to 6 months, you could help the child to sit in a safe place with support for the neck and head. Use the pillows or place it on your lap, with your back against you. Have him sit in different places in the house so that his perspective changes. Never leave him sitting unsupervised, though.

If you go out for walking or jogging, avoid taking your baby with you in a "jogging stroller" until he's in total control of his head. When you think your little one is ready, choose a jogging stroller with a five-point harness that offers maximum support.

When to worry

If the baby seems to have difficulty lifting his head even slightly at three months, talk to the pediatrician. Babies develop skills differently, some faster than others, and head control is no exception. Premature babies can achieve this and other milestones later than their peers.

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Read also: Games for babies from 1 to 12 months

Questions and answers

How many months does the baby manage to have head control? 

Neck muscles and head control should be stable by the age of 6 months.

Does the one-month-old baby already have minimal head control? 

By the end of the first month, the baby should be able to briefly raise his head and turn it from side to side when lying on his stomach. However, the adult must always accompany the movements of the child's head.

If the three-month-old baby still doesn't check his head, should I worry? 

Surely it is advisable to talk to the pediatrician. 

  • first year
  • physical growth of newborn
  • check-ups of the newborn
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